It's almost show time for the Hardrock Hundred (HRH).
Nervous runners began descending on Silverton two or three
weeks ago to acclimate to the high altitude and familiarize themselves with the
course on their own or with crews marking the course each day. Crews and pacers, usually family or good friends, helped fill all the motel rooms, campgrounds,
the hostel, and residents' houses. Even volunteers from around the state and
country, like us, came early for some of the fun.
Silverton is a cool place to hang out before the race, just
like Leadville always is. It's fun to see our friends from all over the country
- and world. We've been busy with the Colorado Trail and Jim's long runs in
preparation for the Leadville race and haven't done as much "hanging out" with
our friends as we'd intended. We'll try to do more of that at Leadville.
Anyway, we've had such a great time here that we plan to
come back again soon - like next July!
Jim was looking at the scenery from our camper one day and
told me, more in honesty than in jest, that he wants to come here to die
peacefully if he ever gets cancer. "Forget the chemo and other treatments.
Just give me some morphine and let me die right here. And throw my ashes on top
of one of these mountains."
It's too bad we're leaving next week. We'll both miss the
Yesterday after lunch we stopped by the high school
gymnasium, site for most of the race activities, and visited with friends as
they were checking in and getting their race packets. Kathy Lang, M.D. (Jim
Ballard's wife) was doing medical check-ins. Heidi Schutt was busy selling items
her company, Running Delights, carries. Most folks were heading off for the "Pot
Lick" in a few minutes. We joined the crowd.
One of the first pre-race activities on the schedule, the "Pot
Lick" was a pot-luck-style lunch from 1 to 4 PM at Silverton's Memorial Park.
Andrea Feucht, ultra runner/HRH committee member, organized the event again.
Runners, volunteers, and friends gathered in a little gazebo on the lawn and
shared pizza, mac-&-cheese, fruit and veggie trays, baked beans, ice cream, and
all manner of desserts. Yum!
It was great to see friends who've been here a couple weeks
as well as ones we haven't seen recently. Below are photos of some of them, with
the identities we know. (Please tell us who the others are if we haven't
In the photo below are Liz and Tom Hayes-McGoff, one of our
favorite ultra couples. They live in Bozeman, Montana. Both have finished
Hardrock and other tough hundred-milers. Liz won Wasatch one year. She plans to crew and pace Tom this year
Left to right are Blake Wood (former HRH record-holder and
multiple finisher), Andrea Feucht (multiple HRH finisher/race committee
member), Jim, Betsy Kalmeyer (four-time female winner at Hardrock, seven-time
finisher), and Jennifer Roach's husband (Jennifer is entered in the
It was good to talk more with Betsy, who has the second-fastest time on the Colorado
Trail (a few hours less than Hal Koerner). We compared notes about the scenery
along the CT in the San Juans and the "fun" getting to some of the
Liz Walker, below with Jim, is one of our ultra friends from Georgia.
She completed the Grand Slam (Western States, Vermont, Leadville, and
Wasatch 100-milers) last summer and is pacing Hans-Dieter Weisshaar the
entire 100 miles at Hardrock this year. (Runners 60 and over may have a
pacer the whole way; others can have pacers for only the last 60 miles
or so.) Liz hopes to win the lottery at HRH next year so she can compete
Hans is shown on the left below. Everybody who
runs 100-milers knows Hans because he runs so many of them each year! He and his
wife, Susi, in the blue dress, live in Germany but spend most of the year in the
U.S. at races. Susi is an extraordinary crew person. Both are
very personable folks. Hans has finished this race five times. Also shown are
Rich Limacher (light blue shirt) and his wife, who live in the Chicago, Illinois
area. Rich has finished HRH at least once.
Jim literally ran from our campground into town this morning (Thursday) and
helped Lois McKenzie, the volunteer coordinator, finish cleaning out water jugs
for the aid stations. He also helped her several hours yesterday morning. He
stayed for the runners' mandatory race briefing at noon and talked with some of
the folks he hadn't seen in a while. All these activities took place at the
Lois and John Cappis, another HRH committee
member, are shown below:
I arrived just as the runners' briefing was
ending, said good-bye to Jim as he left to go get some lunch, and
talked with friends who hung around. Drop bags were due by 3 PM, so I watched as
some of the stacks piled up:
Notice the school's symbol on the wall
There was some miscommunication about whether
the volunteers would be getting lunch at their briefing at 2 PM so Jim went
ahead and got a hamburger. I ate some lunch in the camper about 11 AM. When Jim
returned at 1:45 he was rightly irritated to discover a large lunch spread for
the volunteers. We both ate some more, then attended the briefing for aid
station and communications volunteers. Most folks had already left when I took
After the briefing we got together with Dave Coblentz,
Jim's co-captain at Cunningham aid station, where we'll be working all day and
night on Saturday. We went through our food and equipment supplies and made
plans for water, stoves, a heater, lights, chairs, cots, and other items.
Some of our supplies are shown in this photo:
We'll fill our truck bed a couple times with all the food, runners' drop bags,
and equipment needed for the aid station.
It was too early to carry anything out to the site in
Cunningham Gulch because no one would be staying there tonight to guard the
goods, but we went out with the young couple who supplies the tents to the race
and helped them erect the huge three-sided tent. I forgot to takes photos as it
was going up but I'll show you what it looks like on Saturday when we're in
Unfortunately, we didn't get back into town in time to
enjoy the Silverton Rescue Squad's spaghetti dinner. We had leftovers in the
camper instead. Bummer!
Next up: the race is on! Watching runners at Grant
Swamp Pass and setting up our aid station on Friday.